Building a mini-ITX ION Based HTPC (2)

Posted on 12 September 2010  •  Permalink  •  Category htpc

Already a few Saturdays ago the last package of items arrived, so the unboxing could start. I thought to include some images of the unpacking and assembly process.


The total set of hardware I ordered

Actually the first time ever in my life to lay hands on a mini-ITX mainboard. I’d only seen them as images on the web (honestly). Some images of the assembly in progress:

Zotac ION ITX A-E package

Contents of the Zotac ION ITX A-E package

Mainboard installed into M350

Mainboard installed into M350 (1)

Mainboard installed into M350

Mainboard installed into M350 (2)

After finishing the assembly process, it was time to start setting up the software. I decided to go for a Ubuntu server install and without a CD or DVD drive I had to resort to an USB install. I first tried putting a full server CD install image onto an USB drive using UNetbootin and boot and install from that. Booting and everything went fine, but then I ran into problems installing from the USB drive, because of missing symlinks and truncated filenames. These problems probably were related to the fact that the USB drive needs to be a FAT filesystem (to boot). A quick search on Google showed me that I’m not the only one suffering from these issues.

The next try was to boot from USB but install from network. Again booting went fine, but setting up a wireless connection from the USB boot environment seemed to be impossible. Maybe it is possible, but I didn’t want to spend yet more time. So I was almost moving my new little media computer down to the living room next to the internet modem to connect it directly through a cable, when I had a new hunch. Maybe I can easily share my wireless internet connection from my MacBook to another PC using a cable… Connect cable, click, click. Open system preferences on my MacBook, click, click, click. Reconfigure network from installer. Woa, it works! Thanks Steve & co!

There we have it: mbox is alive. Up and running Ubuntu Server 10.04. But it’s not a real media box yet, still some more things to configure. Therefore, I’ve made a separate blog category named “mbox”. I’ll be writing more posts including how I configured a lot of things, and will all file them in there.